Michael Jackson has been named the highest earning dead celebrity in 2019 for the seventh year in a row.
The late pop star – who died in 2009 aged 50 following an overdose of the anaesthetic propofol – topped Forbes’ 2019 list after his estate made over £46 million in the last 12 months.
The news comes despite the controversy that followed the release of Leaving Neverland earlier this year. The Dan Reed-directed documentary, which divided viewers upon its UK airing, focuses on testimony by Wade Robson, 36, and James Safechuck, 41, who both claim that Jackson sexually abused them when they were children.
According to Forbes, Jackson’s streaming numbers “surged” despite the scandal, to “2.1 billion US spins, up from 1.8 billion a year ago.”
“With proceeds flowing from his Mijac Music catalogue, a Las Vegas show and a long-term deal with Sony, he retains his post mortem cash crown for the seventh consecutive year,” Forbes reports.
Elvis Presley came in at second in the list, which measures pre-tax income from October 1, 2018 to October 1, 2019. The ‘Hound Dog’ singer made over £30 million in the past year.
Cartoonist Charles Schulz was third with £29 million, golfer Arnold Palmer was fourth with £23 million and Bob Marley came in at fifth with over £15 million.
Nipsey Hussle, who was shot and killed earlier this year, was in 10th place with over £8 million. Rapper XXXTentacion – who died after being shot in 2018 – was in 11th place after making close to £8 million.
Speaking to Extra about the YouTube film review channel he and his brother launched recently, Prince Jackson said that Michael “always” wanted him and his siblings to “chase their dreams”.